Over the past few weeks there have been many public figures that have taken their own lives because of mental illnesses, inner struggles, and personal stress. When news of someones passing makes national headlines, there is an outpouring of support from Instagram and Twitter with captions like “it’s ok to not be ok” or “call someone if you need help.” But what about the down times-The times where a famous person isn’t publicly struggling or a famous person seeks help privately. There only seems to be attention drawn to mental illness when something big happens, which is hard for an issue that can be an everyday battle.
A lot of people see asking for help as a weakness. They are scared and hate asking for help. Whether it be for mental illness, directions, or just moving a box, not a lot of us are asking for help.
When I was going through self harm and suicidal thoughts, I asked for help, but from the all the wrong places. I turned to my friends and the online world (ask.fm). Inside, I knew I was asking for attention and not for actual help. I knew I was destroying myself inside and out but I wasn’t doing anything to stop it.
Take a few moments and a piece of paper for these next questions. Answer them honestly. This is for you and only you to see. What are you going through right now that you need help for, and why aren’t you seeking help for it? What is stopping you? Is it your secret love for it? Are you scared of how people will see you? Are you just scared?
We all think that we know the best way to do basically everything in our lives, especially if it has to do with our mental health..but do we really know what’s best for us? I would cut myself and say “this isn’t right, but I am handling it fine.” Speaking from personal experiences, I thought I could handle it. It was my problem, I created it, and I could fix it. But I was wrong. I was a young girl with no real understanding of what was happening to my body and mind, why I was feeling this way, and what I could do to really fix it in the long run. You might think you are handling everything in your life fine, but sometimes (more often than not) the way you are going about things, such as your mental health, is not as good as you think it is. It might be getting you through a couple hard days, but in the long run, your way is not necessarily the right way. To be the best version of yourself, dear reader, you must let go of your pride and insistence that your way is the best way. You must let go of your FEAR.
If fear is what is holding you back, trust in one person enough to tell them what you need, preferably an adult or someone who can get you real and beneficial help. If you are scared of what will happen afterwards, just dive straight into it and you have already taken the hardest and most scary step. Take it day by day-you will NOT be recovered overnight. If you are scared of how people will see you, I promise that everyone who loves and cares for you want the best for you and want to see you healthy and happy-not struggling and thirsting for recovery in silence. There is no reason for you to stay in a state of unhappiness, dear reader. There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS somebody who cares about you and loves you. You are never alone in this battle.
“Society’s perception of getting help is skewed because of a lack of education, and this ignorance causes many people to suffer in silence. Because of the sheer fact that they’re afraid of what they’ll be labeled as having issues or weaknesses. In reality, it is the complete opposite. To realize that something isn’t right and to reach out shows so much strength that many ‘normal’ people don’t even have.”
Look back at what you wrote down earlier-what are you struggling with? Why aren’t you seeking help, and what is stopping you? Look at it this way-you can either go through this for the rest of your life, convincing yourself that your way is the best way to handle it, or you can let go of your pride and take the giant leap of asking for and seeking help, and managing it through whatever you have needed all this time-whether it be a mental illness (getting therapy, medication, a mental health institution stay, etc) or something else like a relationship constraint, addiction, anything you are struggling with and going through alone.
Here is another small reminder-you are never alone. There is ALWAYS somebody else in this world who is either going through or has gone through what is holding you back day to day. You. Are. Not. Alone. I double pinky swear to you.
All you have to do, is ask for help. It is a huge step and something that is easier said than done, but once you take the step, you are headed towards a more beautiful tomorrow.
Everybody reading this will get through whatever it is that you are going through. It will all be okay.
I love you, so much.
Praying for each and every one of y’all,
Aubrey Hope Downs